[ by Carter Schimpff, SML ]
When you open up the Yellow Pages and … Oh, wait a second. No one does that anymore. Let me rephrase: When you hop on Google and search for local moving companies to help with your move, you’ll probably be presented with plenty of choices. There’s a relatively low barrier of entry to calling yourself a mover; just about anyone with a moving truck can do so.
Unfortunately, many of these local movers aren’t as professional as they’d like you to believe. Here are four dirty little secrets that they don’t want you to find out.
1. The Movers May Not Be Trained.
Yep, the people who bill themselves as “professional movers” may not be movers at all. This is especially true during the summer when a lot of people are moving. In the summertime, local movers often get overbooked; instead of turning down business, they simply hire day laborers to do the work for them. These day laborers aren’t actually professionals, and they can delay your move or damage your property—making your move more stressful than it has to be.
2. Many Local Movers Don’t Belong to Professional Organizations.
If a company truly cares about its reputation and wants to advance that reputation in the marketplace, being a member of highly regarded organizations like a local chamber of commerce, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the American Moving & Storage Association usually is high on the priority list.
If you come across a local mover that isn’t a member of any of these organizations, it could be a pop-up shop seeking to take advantage of the season and make a few quick bucks. Consequently, you may not get the professional service you expect from a moving company.
3. Many Local Movers Aren’t Properly Insured.
When you hire a local mover, there’s a certain level of trust and performance that you expect. Everyone at the moving company is supposed to be a professional. That means breaking something is out of the question; unfortunately, mistakes do happen, even at the best companies in the business.
To make sure a homeowner is covered, a professional mover usually carries some type of loss insurance for itself and its employees. Oftentimes, local movers do not have this insurance for their employees, so if something gets broken, you are liable for the damages—meaning you won’t be compensated at all.
4. Some Local Moving Companies Are Scam Artists.
It doesn’t get sadder than these sham companies, but unfortunately they do exist. Claiming to be local movers, some companies are nothing more than extortionists looking to nickel-and-dime every customer they can. A common scam is forcing you to pay extra because the “actual weight” wasn’t the same as the estimated weight you were charged when you initially signed your paperwork.
If something ever seems “off”—like documents being incomplete, the company not providing you with a signed agreement beforehand or the company requiring a 100 percent payment well in advance—you may be dealing with a shady company. To avoid this, check with the BBB to see whether complaints have been filed against any moving company you’re considering.